Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010
Parliamentary Record 15
Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 21 October 2010 canvas and rubber bands holding it together. That is what the spin machine is all about. We saw recently in the newspaper this government spends $12m a year telling Territorians how good it is, however the Pastoral Land Board cannot get out to check a few cattle stations. Guess where the priorities are going wrong? Mr HENDERSON (Chief Minister): Madam Deputy Speaker, I support the Minister for Trades statement on Growing International Trade. The Territorys international trade performance is an important contributor to the growth of the Territorys economy. In 2008-09, the value of Territory merchandise exports was $6.3bn, an increase of 38.5% on the previous year; and merchandise imports were valued at $4.7bn, a massive increase of 82.4%, primarily due to feedstock gas for the Darwin LNG facility. The ratio of trade balance to GSP in 2008-09 was 9.8%, the third-highest in the nation behind Western Australia and Tasmania, and a tangible indicator on the valuable input to our economy derived through trade. International trade provides ongoing strength and diversity to our economy, creates jobs across a range of industry sectors, and underpins our standard of living. Through a range of targeted activities, Growing International Trade 2009 to 2013 aims to assist and provide business and industry with opportunities to establish and grow their international trade performance in key markets of strategic interest. Growing International Trade 2009 to 2013 is part of my governments strategic directions focused on continuing to grow the Territorys economic prosperity. I will talk about a few specific initiatives of government to drive the Territorys trade performance. First, the third Indonesian Mining Procurement Forum held on 28 and 29 April 2010, which I was very pleased to open. It was good to see us running our third procurement forum. As Minister for Asian Relations and Trade I kicked off the Indonesian Mining Procurement Forum; it is great to see it going from strength to strength. The event was applauded for its successful delivery, which was found to be highly informative to all participants. We had a significant number of Territory businesses at the forum either exporting to Indonesia, looking to export, or importing from Indonesia. The Governor of Balikpapan attended the conference with a number of Indonesian officials. The event was particularly important because we were able to bring key Indonesian procurement decision-makers to Darwin and directly showcase local industry capability, supply and service to those operations. We also pointed out we are the only jurisdiction in Australia which supports two Indonesian Customs officials based in Darwin to do pre-inspections for all exports to eastern Indonesia. That reduces time, reduces cost for Territory business, and is another initiative by government to develop international trade links. As my colleague, the minister, pointed out, a number of tangible commercial outcomes have resulted from this event, and almost all delegates have reported making significant contacts which will lead to future business dealings. I would now like to talk about the Shanghai World Expo, a major event this year, and probably the single largest delegation from the Territory to attend an official overseas function and expo. China is a key trading partner for the Territory, valued at almost $1.5bn a year. This market is expanding at a rapid pace, and my government wants to ensure the Territory benefits from this growth. We have been through the global financial crisis - the aftershocks are still there - however strong economic management in Australia, strong capitalisation of our banks and, importantly, Australias very important relationship with China did stave off the worst of the global financial crisis for Australia. China is critical to Australias economic health and growth. In the Northern Territory we do not get comments like those from Barnaby Joyce and other extreme people - goodness knows what planet they are on running the line Australia should be careful when trading with China, or should not be trading with China because it is still a markedly Communist country and by trading, investing and working with China we are exposing our businesses to espionage and theft of intellectual capital. Those comments do not help and have no place in the Northern Territory. China has to be a key part of Australia maintaining its economic health and growth because we are a trading nation. This is a globalised economy, and anyone who thinks they can grow their economy without trading with China is an economic Neanderthal. The Shanghai World Expo 2010 presented a unique and timely opportunity to showcase the Territory to key political and corporate leaders in China, and the international community at large. The World Expo opened on 1 May 2010 for six months. As is the case with all world expositions, the Shanghai World Expo is a large-scale, non-commercial exposition which aims to promote the exchange of ideas across a range of fields including economic, science, technology and culture, and provides a platform for building stronger international relations. The Northern Territory is a silver sponsor of the Australian pavilion. Visitors to the Australian 6508
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